Fires are normal
“The Carr fire is terrifying glimpse into California's future” (Editorials, July 27): The sweltering temperatures and firestorms we experienced last summer, and so far this summer, will seem like a walk in the park compared to what is to come in the next 10 to 15 years if we don't change our ways. This is the new normal and normal is going to get a lot worse. At the end of this century, people will look back and curse Trump and his criminal cronies for not only what they did, but also for what they failed to do. Earth has run the carbon dioxide experiment many times in the past. It has always ended badly. What makes us think it will end differently this time?
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Climate change is costing California taxpayers a lot of money, will continue to do so and will make California an even more expensive place to live. The cost of huge fires to the economies of forested areas and the cost of investing in new water storage are both direct consequences of the drought conditions, exacerbated by global warming, which is predicted to continue for years to come. The Sacramento Bee Opinion Page on July 30 makes reference to both. The common thread linking dead trees and the need to increase water capture is prolonged, unrelenting drought. Californians cannot fight this alone. We must continue to lead in the effort to combat climate change. The quickest and best way to do this is to enact a national tax on carbon and to act globally through the Paris Accord to enable other industrialized nations to do the same.
How many more wildfire disasters is it going to take before we see national action on climate change? California has been taking important steps to curb the effects of global warming, but California alone can’t solve this critical issue. As the editorial so accurately states, “We were warned that the atmospheric buildup of man-made greenhouse gas would eventually be an existential threat. Still, it is sobering to witness how swiftly scientists’ worst predictions have come true.” California is experiencing what scientists and firefighters are calling the “new normal” for wildfires. Fires of such severity that they are creating their own weather systems, like hurricanes. The Carr Fire really is “a terrifying glimpse into California’s future” and should serve as a wake up call that federal action must be taken to mitigate this climate crisis. National carbon fee and dividend legislation would be a viable and economically-sound solution.
“Homelessness is getting worse across California. Gavin Newsom says he has a plan to turn it around.” (sacbee.com, July 25): Gavin Newsom seems to really have everyone’s best interests at heart and the start of a great plan. Our homeless are generally challenged by mental health issues, drug and alcohol self-medicating and mistrust of our systems. They fight to retain their “freedom.” Dignity that comes with feeling they're in control of their lives, which is a tough paradigm for social workers and volunteers offering services. Meanwhile, allowing aggressive panhandling, public defecation and littering only further alienate the non-homeless and ignite the NIMBY phenomenon. Homeless people would be best served on a centralized campus, county and independent agencies together, outdoor bathroom and shower facilities, fundamental housing, with food, medical and proprietor services. Benefit recipients can clean up after themselves, tending to “their home.” Holding them accountable for their behaviors offers them dignity as relative equals, giving them the freedom and dignity to not degrade their “homes,” and to maintain their lives.
Done with DMV
“Drivers are fed up with DMV. So are California lawmakers” (sacbee.com, July 30): Motorists facing horrendous wait times to renew a license in Sacramento and the Bay Area have good company in the southern part of the state. In July, I waited two hours at the San Marcos office in San Diego County before receiving a "ticket to proceed," then spent 4 1/2 hours in a process that should have taken less than half an hour. Most of the employees were pleasant, but were simply inept or uncaring about their job. The total process is an antiquated bureaucratic mess. I tried to make an online appointment two days after receiving my renewal notice, but the earliest available date was weeks after my license was due to expire.
My daughter just went through a 7 1/2 hour nightmare wait, like the others in this article. I wrote my local state senator and got the same rhetoric on how concerned they are. The discussed plan of action is no real action. For offices that serve 80,000 people or more, let me do an immediate fix until the other attempts happen two or three years from now. First, stagger the employee shift schedules to cover operating hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Stagger employees’ work weeks so you can open Saturday by some working Monday through Friday and others Tuesday through Saturday. Stay open Saturdays every weekend, not just select weeks in only a few offices. People have to know the office will be open and when. Past extended office hours were hit-or-miss, making it impractical for the average person to know what office was open.
Republican tax law
Writing on Sunday, Adam Michel of the Heritage Foundation claims that California families will save thousands of dollars under the new Republican tax law. He also points out that some companies have handed out bonuses and claims the new tax law is responsible for them. What he fails to mention is that every American will share in the over $2 trillion increase in our national debt. For a typical family of five, that is like a $34,000 additional mortgage – not a mortgage on your house, but a mortgage on your future. That is your family’s share in the increase of the national debt. Last decade some of the worst charlatans engaged in subprime mortgages, but they would not have dared to slap a $34,000 mortgage on your house and tell you that it was a good deal because you got a couple thousand dollars upfront. Yet, this exactly what the Republicans tax bill did.
Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks